Norway plug survival


Active Member
Planted 1,200 Norway Spruce plugs in early April. I have had great success with plugs in the past and they always do very well. One field that we are transforming into a bedding area had several hundred plugs planted this year. Well to say they had a rough summer due to lack of rain would be an understatement. This field is also totally open and the trees had minimal protection from the sun. Many of my plugs in this field have a yellow color to them. Are they toast or just a little sick heading into winter? The rest of the plugs are a dark green, just like I am used to. These yellowish trees have me a bit concerned.

It probably isn't good, but I wouldn't give up until all the needles are gone. I've seen those little trees go through hell and hang on to just 10% of their needles and come back.
I have planted a little over 2000 of the Norway plugs. I don't think it has anything to do with sun. Usually full sun is preferred for any tree. I have had a few over the years that will look like that. Some will eventually turn green again, some won't. I have even had trees that were nice and green and looked healthy all of a sudden turn brown so, all you can do is wait until next year. I go by a simple rule, if you need 100 trees then plant 200. If you need 1000 plant 2000. Fortunately, with these smaller plugs I can get at least 80% survival so I just replant the dead ones each year. Order up a batch of 500 right now while they're available and replant any that die by the spring. You can never have enough.
I know they say they like sun but my Norway plugs that have shade do way better than ones in full sun. The field these were in basically baked all summer due to lack of rain. It is a heavy clay soil as well so it was like concrete a good part of the summer. I would say about 30% of the trees in this field turned from a faint yellow to very yellow and looking like they are about to drop needles. The rest did fine, especially the plugs bordering the woods that got at least some shade. The other field I planted the trees are all nice and green. I guess we will wait and see how the yellow plugs fare. Already have my order for 500 more trees in :D.
I feel your pain. I'm not sure that any of my plugs survived this summer. We were in the "extreme drought" area just south of Lake Ontario and they didn't get watered...only ~half of the bareroot plantings survived. The plugs were toast. It was a tough, tough year.